TOLL-FREE HELPLINE BY ‘UNITED AGAINST HATE’ TO PROVIDE LEGAL, MEDICAL HELP TO VICTIMS OF HATE ATTACKS
Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI – Responding to the alarming menace of rising hate crimes and lynchings in the country, United Against Hate (UAH), a group of activists, has launched a national helpline (1800-3133-60000) for the victims of hate crimes and mob lynching from across the country. The helpline was formally unveiled Monday in the presence of eminent human rights activists, lawyers, Muslim leaders and journalists at the Press Club of India in New Delhi.
People calling the helpline number will be provided legal assistance for free of cost by senior advocates working with the UAH. Their cases will be highlighted through the help of the media and the administration will be pressurised to take action against the culprits, said Nadeem Khan from the United Against Hate.
“We are launching a toll-free helpline in view of rising cases of mob attacks and hate crimes in the country. We will try to help the victims of such assaults and help them get justice in courts. The state and central governments have only made statements on such incidents. Despite all the claims of the government, the assaults have not stopped,” said Khan addressing the media.
“The aim of the Helpline is to provide help and speedy justice to the victims of hate attacks and mob lynching, by reporting the incidents immediately in the media, documenting them and providing judicial help, and also to prepare a document of such attacks and build phased movement around it,” he added.
Addressing the media, activists, leaders and advocates said that the helpline was the need of the hour. They expressed their grave concerns over the law and order situation in the country with people being attacked and killed because of their faith.
“It would have been better if we never needed this helpline. If it is being started, we sincerely hope no call for help comes. But we cannot close our eyes to the reality. We see every day the reports of hate crimes and lynching,” said human rights activist Prof Apoorvanand Jha adding that Muslims, Dalits and Christians are being attacked and killed because of their religion and caste.
Addressing the media, Malik Motasim Khan, secretary of Jamaat-e-Isami Hind, said that these attacks on Muslims and other minorities are happening because of hate-filled ideology of “one nation, one culture and one religion.” India is a land of multiple cultures, religions and communities. Pluralism is the USP of this country, said Khan.
He said that although the hate crimes are being committed against the Dalits and Christians as well, the majority of the victims of late have been Muslims. “Muslim leaders and organisations are being asked by the members of the community as to why they are not doing anything when their members are being attacked and killed,” he added. “We have no answer to this question. We just urge them to remain calm and patient.”
Ravi Nair, Director at South Asia Human Rights Documentation, said that the constant happening of such incidents shows that the state is collapsing and there is no law and order in the country.
“I appreciate this initiative for all the wrong reasons. It should not have been necessary. Where is the Indian state? I make differentiation between state and the government. The state is collapsing. You have National Integration Council which have joint secretary and whole department in the home ministry also. What are they doing? Are they hatching egg? Why have not they called the meeting of chief ministers on the incidents of mob lynching,” asked Nair in an angry and emotional tone.
Senior journalist Urmilesh Urmil said that in no other country people are being killed because of their religion and caste. “This uncivilized and uncultured behavior is growing in our country. Youth who are unemployed and uneducated are being recruited for this job. Illiteracy and unemployment are some of the key reasons behind these incidents. No educated person can kill people because of their religion,” he argued.
Father Michael Villemy, Founder President, Minority Christian Forum, lauded the helpline as a good endeavour. “Christians were also being targeted and there have been many incidents across the country. Everyone needs to come forward to save this constitution. India has to move ahead by creating an atmosphere of love and brotherhood,” he said.
Supreme Court advocates Sanjay Hegde, Ehtesham Hashmi, Fuzail, JNU Professor Dr Ghazala Jamil, Dr Kafil Khan, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind secretary Maulana Hakeemuddin and others also addressed the press conference.